Just having launched last December, The Makan is the first flash sale website in Egypt. It includes discounted items from some of the most recogniseable brand names and hosts big flash sales that last an average of five days with big discounts on the items they offer.
“About 90% to 95% of our items are discounted and are sold at a lower price than in their original stores. We specialise in home accessories and women’s handbags and focus on high quality brands that are available in Egypt,” said Bassam Salah, who co-founded The Makan with Khaled Sallam and Khaled Salem.
Wanting to see a flash sale website in Egypt, Salah created one himself instead of waiting for it to happen: “The idea came as I learned more about entrepreneurship and saw websites like VentePriveein France and Gilt in the US. Both of them started by offering sales on high-end fashion brands. We knew there was no similar service here in Egypt so we started one. We think this is the right time because we are in a period of e-commerce taking off in the region.”
Salah said The Makan knows that Egyptians can be sceptic about online shopping and because of this, the website takes great care to display the items accurately through high-quality photography: “We make sure that we have high-resolution images of all the items, from different angles and our method of payment is cash on delivery, though we will introduce credit cards in the future.”
The Makan gives a percentage of the profit made on each item to charity, and customers can choose one from a list before checkout on the website, which includes the MagdiYaacoub Foundation and the 57357 Children’s Hospital.
For now, The Makan does not offer items from brands outside Egypt but Salah said they are adding new brands as they go along: “We are adding a new section to the website that lists future brands coming to The Makan.”
Current brands include the likes of Bebe, Bimba and Lola, Mango, Desigual, United Colours of Benetton and Kian. “I think customers so far are happy and excited about the brands. We pick the items we display based on a number of factors. We do not display everything these brands offer, but rather, we pick based on aesthetic appeal, value and usefulness, with a little help from our female friends, of course,” he added.
The Makan is now in their soft launch phase and offer free shipping on one order if the customer likes their Facebook page: “After the soft launch phase, we will offer free shipping if a customer invites a friend and that friend starts ordering from the website,” said Salah.
“We also offer shipping to anywhere in Egypt through Aramex and have a free return policy if customers have any problem with the product they ordered,” he said.
Maybe you can afford that handbag, after all.